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Statement on U.S. Troops in Iraq

Location: Washington, DC

Statement on US Troops in Iraq

Mr. President, the world has been watching images from Iraq, of the Iraqi people celebrating the end of a brutal tyranny, and of the American soldiers who have given the Iraqi people hope for a new beginning.

Over the past three weeks, the men and women of America's armed forces have shown a degree of precision and professionalism unprecedented in military history. Their commitment to their country builds on the expectations, traditions and character of those who have gone before them. It builds on the traditions of over two centuries of American courage and sense of honor. Built by people like Dan Inouye, Bob Dole, Charlie Rangel, John McCain and millions of other American veterans.

The end of Saddam's regime does not end our commitment in Iraq. It is only the beginning. America's soldiers will continue to face great risks in Iraq. Lives will continue to be lost. Restoring order, peace-keeping, and rebuilding in Iraq are the tasks ahead, and our men and women in uniform will be asked to risk their lives to meet these challenges, as they have in bringing an end to Saddam Hussein's tyranny.

Among the many brave men and women who have sacrificed in Iraq, I would like to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of those men and women in uniform from my state of Nebraska. Thousands of Nebraskans are on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Gaurd. Their stories are the stories of America's courage , achievement, and sacrifice in Iraq.

On Monday, Army Lieutenant Colonel Mike Presnel phoned his mother in Grand Island, Nebraska. He placed the call on a reporter's phone from the gold-plated bathroom in one of Saddam Hussein's Baghdad palaces, now under coalition control. Colonel Presnel told his mother about his historic experience...and how proud he was of his colleagues.

Nearly 60 years after the first American landed at Omaha Beach, a courageous Omahan landed the first coalition aircraft at Baghdad International Airport. Piloting an Apache helicopter disabled by enemy gunfire unable to radio for help, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Greg Inman, of Omaha, Nebraska, touched down shortly after U.S. forces staked claim to the airport. Warrant Officer Inman's landing was the standard for the courageous service that we've come to expect from our forces in Iraq.

Captain Travis Ford, a 30-year old Marine from Ogallala, Nebraska, lost his life in service to his country. Captain Ford was killed on April 4th when his Cobra helicopter crashed during combat operations near Ali Aziziyal, Iraq. He leaves behind a wife and two-year-old daughter. He was, in the word's of his father-in-law, a "Marine's Marine."

I spoke to his mother and wife yesterday. His mother, Josie Ford said, 'Senator, Travis did something very important for his country. I'm proud of him.' Mrs. Ford, we're all proud of him.

Our military men and women are the nation's quiet heroes, for there is no glory in war. Behind headlines and beyond breaking news, there is the human struggle and the human tragedy. Lives are risked and lost.

The experience of war reinforces the desire for peace. General Douglas MacArthur once said, "the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." Our sacrifices in Iraq, we pray, will make a better and more secure life for the people of America, Iraq and the world.

For their service, bravery and sacrifice, in this noble cause of defending freedom and making a better world, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing—in honoring—the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. They have always been America's quiet heros - upon their sacrifice and courage we are inspired to build a more noble and just world.

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